There are lots of ways to help cats and contribute to making Hamilton a better, safer, happier place for the cats who live in our City.
TAKING CARE OF OUR OWN CATS. Those of us who own cats, aside from giving them food, shelter & love, can make sure we:
1. Get them spayed/neutered - At 4-5 months all owned cats should be "fixed"; as well as preventing unwanted kittens (thus helping curb Hamilton's cat overpopulation problem), it helps avoid the annoyance of males spraying & females in heat.
2. Keep them healthy - Up-to-date vaccinations to prevent avoidable illnesses are essential even for indoor cats.
3. Keep them indoors - It's a dangerous world out there; cats get hit by cars & injured (or killed) in other ways - and they get lost.
4. Provide ID - Even indoor cats can slip by us & the odds on getting a lost cat back home are much improved by a collar (& identity tag) &/or a microchip (with contact information that's current).
GET LOST CATS BACK HOME
For some ideas on what to do if your cat does get lost (including some things most people don't think to do), take a look at:
"Lost a Cat?"
AND be sure to be making effective use of this no-cost service:
HELP FOUND CATS
RHC often hears from people who've found a cat, or a mother and kittens, or abandoned kittens, and are wondering what to do. The situations are all different so there are no hard & fast answers about how to help these cats but here are a few pointers:
1. Start off hoping the cat is lost & do what you can to find the owner. If there's a collar (with ID) that's easy. If there's no collar, take the cat to a vet to check for a microchip - it's simple & vets will do this for free.
And, if the cat is friendly, the odds are good that this is someone's pet; so, get the word out by checking with neighbours & local vet offices, posting signs & doing anything else that comes to mind.
2. If no owner is found; then, the reality is that this cat needs a home. If you can adopt the cat or know someone who can, that's great! Ask around.
3. If finding a home for the cat is a challenge, you may need to contact a rescue group for help.
4. If you're stumped on how to go about that, not hearing back from rescue groups or trying to figure out what to do about some particularly difficult situation, try to avoid calling HAS (except as a last resort.) And, if you're struggling to figure out what to do, contact us - we can't promise to have an easy answer but we'll try to come up with some suggestions.
SUPPORT A CAT RESCUE GROUP
The local groups that are working to help Hamilton cats - rescuing, providing food, shelter and veterinary care, and finding forever homes for homeless cats, rely on private support. Most are totally volunteer based and look after cats in foster homes; some rescue only from HAS, some take in strays or owner surrenders and some focus on feral cats or on initiatives such as low cost spay/neuter. They all operate differently; so, check out the local ones, some of which are listed on our adoption page and start to get involved by:
1. DONATING - They all need money, mostly for vet bills. Never hesitate to ask how your money is spent.
2. ADOPTING - They're all trying to find loving forever homes for the cats/kittens in their care. If you might be able to adopt, start checking the ones available for adoption.
3. VOLUNTEERING - If you have some time or some skills to offer, consider becoming a volunteer - maybe fostering, transporting, helping with fundraising
ENCOURAGE CONSTRUCTIVE CHANGE AT HAS by:
1. Keeping informed on what's happening there. In recent years, many changes have been taking place at HAS that are affecting how these services are delivered. One of the things we (Rescue Hamilton Cats) have been doing is staying informed about these changes, analyzing data provided by HAS, and looking into what these changes mean to Hamilton cats and the people wanting to help them. For a current picture of what HAS is doing (and what services they do and don't provide) we refer you to this Report prepared in February 2016.
2. Sponsoring - Becoming a sponsor means pledging an amount of money toward the rescue of a cat currently at HAS. Once that cat is rescued, you are notified and told which rescue group has stepped forward and taken it into their care. The money you then donate to that group will go directly toward the vet expenses for this cat. The cats currently awaiting rescue from HAS are posted here. To get involved in this sponsorship initiative go here.
If you have other ideas about helping cats, want to talk with us about specific ways you might be able to help or are interested in becoming "one of us," please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org We'd love to hear from you!